The Cubs announced their 2019 coaching staff Thursday, including the hiring of three new additions: pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, assistant hitting coach Terrmel Sledge and quality assurance coach Chris Denorfia. Rounding out manager Joe Maddon’s staff are bench coach Brandon Hyde, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, third base coach Brian Butterfield, first base coach Will Venable, bullpen coach Lester Strode, associate pitching/catching/strategy coach Mike Borzello. The Cubs added that staff assistants Juan Cabreja and Franklin Font will also return, as will bullpen catcher Chad Noble.
It’s the first MLB coaching assignment for each of Hottovy, Denorfia and Sledge. Hottovy has been in the Cubs organization since 2015, working as a scouting coordinator and assisting in developing gameplans with the coaching staff and strategies with the team’s pitchers. He’s a somewhat outside-the-box promotion, given his lack of coaching experience and the prominent nature of his role, but he’s clearly a known commodity for president of baseball ops Theo Epstein, GM Jed Hoyer and Maddon. Hottovy spent a decade as a pitcher between the Majors and minors, including MLB appearances with the Red Sox and Royals.
Denorfia not only played for the Cubs but was at one point in his big league career a frequent platoon partner for Venable while the two played for the Padres. He’ll now be teammates with Venable once again in a much different capacity.
Sledge, who has previously served as the Cubs’ hitting coach with Class-A Eugene, is rejoining the organization. The 41-year-old spent parts of four seasons in the Majors, parts of seven seasons in the Minor Leagues and also enjoyed a productive five-year run in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball to close out his playing career. From 2017-18, he worked as a hitting coach in the Dodgers’ minor league ranks.